Considering Grad School - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Continuing Education Graduate Studies
March 31, 2016

Considering Grad School

At the time of writing this article, there are exactly 38 days until Geneva College’s Commencement ceremony for my graduating class. Thirty-eight days until, theoretically, I am done with college forever. It’s obviously a bittersweet time—purchasing my cap and gown was an emotional experience, to say the least. College has been a lot of fun, but there’s a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. 

Back in the day (think Aristotelian times), college was for people who wanted to learn more, just for the sake of learning. College was for intellectuals who wanted to think about ideas, and share these ideas with others who thought they were just as interesting. There were no ulterior motives for getting an education other than just that: getting an education.

In 2016, college has become something that you have to do. You have to go to college so that you can get a good job when you get out. Of course, you’ll learn things. It’s still an academic environment; learning is inevitable. But people go to college so that they can learn a skill or trade, so that they can get a job after college is over. “You want a well-paying job? You gotta go to college.”

As a Communication major, there were concerns expressed by family members about job prospects once I graduate. I’m in the middle of job applications and interviews, and it’s been quite the ride so far. People constantly ask me what I “plan to do with” my degree.

I declared my major because I knew that I was extroverted. I knew that I wanted to work with people. I knew that I enjoyed writing and public speaking. What was something that I could study that incorporated those things? The answer was pretty simple: a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with a concentration in public relations. Quite frankly, I’m good at it. I could accomplish most of the tasks on a job requirement list for “Communication Coordinator” or “Social Media Manager.” I came to college to earn a degree so that I could get a job and earn some money. Go in, get a degree, come out, get a job. Pretty simple.

However, in the last few months, I’ve realized that I have more questions leaving college than I had when I came in. While questions about press releases and media relations have been (mostly) answered, questions about theories and why we communicate have come up. Why do human beings rely so heavily on technology? If we are social beings by nature, why have we created something (the Internet) that has completely changed the way we socialize face-to-face? Are there people who think there were ulterior motives? What do those people base their arguments on?

Thankfully, I go to college where the student-to-professor ratio (15:1) is in my favor, and my professors know me by first name. Even more in my favor is the fact that Geneva College professors care beyond the four years they typically spend teaching a student. I was blessed enough to have a professor listen to what I have to say in class, discussed paper topics with me outside of class, and asked questions about the things I was interested in. Eventually, it was suggested that I look into pursuing a master’s degree.

To say I laughed would be an understatement. I had an assumption that you went to graduate school because you wanted a higher paycheck. I’m just starting my career out –I’m happy for a job at this point, much less one with a higher pay grade. Besides, I’m less than 40 days away from graduating

A few weeks later, I’ve been fairly convinced. Attending a smaller college has allowed me to have one-on-one time with professors who now understand the things that interest me, and have encouraged me to pursue those interests. They’ve been able to provide helpful advice (after all, they are professors who have been through graduate school, too) and have even offered to help me look at different programs. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a school where you will continue your education, and I’m pretty grateful that Geneva professors have taken on the challenge of helping me, even after I graduate. 

Mikayla Covington–Mikayla Covington ‘16


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